Levels of hate crime in England and Wales have been rising significantly over the past year.
In the meantime, political instabilities on the continent have shattered relations between EU nations like never before. The refugee crisis and fears of terrorism could feed an intolerant and dangerous behaviour that should not be underestimated.
Hate crime is defined as an act in which hostility towards a disability, gender, race, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation is expressed.
The total number of hate crimes recorded by police forces in England and Wales rose by 18 per cent between April 2014 and March 2015. The most prominent increase is seen in the category of religious hate crime that saw a worrying upheaval of 43 per cent.
Rose Simpkins from Stop Hate UK affirmed that “media and politics stir things up” warning that “language propaganda is an influential tool for misconduct.”
A chart displaying the distribution of hate crimes across different categories can be found here:
One quarter of hate crimes in London
From the data provided it is clear that racism is overwhelmingly the main trigger.
Despite Britain’s multicultural society and metropolitan capital, one in four hate crimes happens in London.
Stephen Greenhalgh, Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime in London, stated “our city thrives in its diversity” and said “we are free to love, but not free to hate.”
Moreover, it is likely that the actual amount of hate crimes is significantly higher as statistics only take into account attacks notified to the police.
Since 2012 National Hate Crime Awareness Week takes place every year in the month of October to shine a light on the issues of underprivileged groups and commemorate the victims of hate attacks.
After the Paris attacks, concerns are being raised by the Muslim community to watch out for Islamophic assaults.
“The visibility of Muslim women in the British landscape should not be a source of fear,” said Fiyaz Mughal from Tell MAMA (Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks).
Unfortunately, victims of hate crime endure long-lasting consequences that affect their psychological wellbeing. The following chart shows the percentage of victims that suffer from plural disorders:
Words and pictures by Claudia de Meulemeester